RI Monthly Tours Superman

Superman resides in Providence.

He towers above us all, providing a watchful eye on the goings-on on Westminster Street, peeking out towards Narragansett Bay, even glimpsing wisps of steam from somewhere in Johnston.

Providence’s Superman is the former Industrial Trust Bank building, a domineering presence in our skyline. It is called the Superman building for its resemblance to the Daily Planet building in the "Superman" comic, and the nickname is pretty much used by every Rhode Islander I’ve ever met.   

Its Art Deco style was built upwards, inwards, upwards, and its umbilical cord was cut in 1928, a year before the 1929 stock market crash. The building burst into the world on the back of a bear.

It survived recessions, floods, hurricanes and snowstorms, but today it faces its biggest challenge yet: uncertainty. Bank of America, which inhabited the space, left in 2013 and now the building sits vacant.

Just what will become of Superman?